Crampoff (WI4, 200m), Svenkerud

Eventyrland is a fairly well-known route at Svenkerud, however further right there are a number of ice lines that have seen a lot less attention from climbers. Naturally there is very little information about them. Nikolay had already climbed the ice line immediately right of Eventyrland, referred to as 'Svenkerudisen Venstre' by ourselves, but there remained a right-hand variant still to try, and also a completely independent line even further right. The latter had greater appeal for me due to it being a fully independent line. These ice routes in question follow an easy angle in the lower parts but are steeper in the upper parts. In the case of the far right hand route there was no clear visible way to transition between these two sections, however I was fairly confident that a way would present when at closer quarters. The uncertainties over route-finding actually added interest for me, rather than raised concern. 

In light of Svenkerudisen Venstre having a mixed start a co…

Jukulkula (WI4, 280m)

After a late, albeit eventually good, start to the season the warm weather over Christmas and New Year pretty much killed off the possibilities of climbing some of the south facing objectives that were right at the top of my to-do list during January. There were of course plenty in reserve though and one route that has always eluded me is Jukulkula, which is a regional classic. It had already seen a number of ascents this season (not least from Pete Whittaker) meaning there was near certainty that we would find the route in good climbable condition. I also had a solid partner in Gareth, who was equally happy to solo the easy lower pitches in order to improve our climbing efficiency. That of course meant a little more time in bed could be afforded.

The approach was surprisingly easy. The online guide stated an hour but we were beneath the route in what can't have been more than 40 minutes, despite there not being the easiest of snow conditions. Bare frozen ground was covered by a …

O'hoi (WI4, 100m), Stavadalen

After a big day on Makalu the previous day, there was certainly enough reason for Nikolay, Anna and myself to return to Stavadalen in order to take advantage of some decent ice conditions. Some of the routes at Stavadalen were a little on the thin side but O'hoi looked fat and enticing, although apparently not as fat as it can be some years. It was both shorter and potentially easier than Makalu and, with no rising traverses to negotiate, it was hopefully more predictable. Some friends had also climbed the route the day before, which further reduced the uncertainties. Anna had climbed the route the previous season but she was more than happy to climb it again, given Stavadalen's close proximity to our cabin and the poor alternatives elsewhere, such as in Hemsedal. The route's name apparently originates from the first ascentionists who needed rescuing, and apparently shouted 'o'hoi' in the dark in order to gain attention.

I was now largely over the flu that had …

Makalu (WI4-5, 150m), Stavadalen

Anna and I had tried to climb Makalu on New Year's Eve but we had bailed after one pitch due to the ice was becoming too wet for comfort. Small ice debris had even began to fall from high up the route, which was quite disconcerting. We had hoped that the hard climbing would largely be done by the time the warm weather arrived but it had beaten us to it.

We drove to Hemsedal that same day during late afternoon, as some friends were spending New Year there. The forecast indicated that the warm temperatures would linger longer in Hemsedal than in Valdres, and our suspicions that maybe we were driving in the wrong direction were partially confirmed when it began to rain whilst crossing Golsfjellet. The car dashboard read 5 degrees and by the time we had dropped into Hemsedal it was 7 degrees.
Four of us crammed into a tiny cabin in Hemsedal, which needed creative thinking in order to find places to hang wet gear. I stuck my head out of the front door a couple of times during the eveni…

Unfinished Business on Skogshornsdiederet (M5, 300m)

The temperatures on Skogshorn had been well below zero since the weekend before last. The ground was no doubt fully frozen, but there had been no snow to really bring the mountain into a proper winter condition. At first it looked as though Skogshorn was going to get a good dump of snow prior to the weekend, then it looked as though there might possibly not be that much after all. A quick check on with someone in Hemsedal on Thursday confirmed 4-5cm of snow in the valley and with more expected it sounded as though Skogshorn would have a suitable winter jacket. With wind coming from the south, and widespread rain at lower elevations, together with a relatively mild freeze on Skogshorn I was also optimistic that the humid air would help form some Scottish style rime on the south face.

I haven't climbed much on Skogshorn for a multitude of reasons. Firstly I've found it really hard to find suitable partners who are psyched enough for long mixed routes and who have enough experien…

Hægar (n6+), Hægefjell

At 7am I was slightly worried about our decision to wait until Sunday in order to climb Hægar, which was the planned main event for the weekend. I lay in my tent listening to the strong gusts of wind shake the trees regularly. Strong winds and slab climbing are far from being my favourite combination, particularly when the wind is across the face. However, a quick check of the wind direction raised my optimism that the ridge curving to the east of the main face would block it to some degree. Once we were off the initial slab pitches and into the corner system hopefully we would get further shelter.

Hægar is a route that has been on my wish list for a number of years, but only in more recent times has it found its way towards the top. That's partly because I'm generally climbing better (when not injured), meaning the difficulties have become manageable, and also partly because I'm not getting any younger. Waiting until I become an even better climber, or more to point when …